May 16, 2011 04:52

Stormwater News

Assemblyman Fights Stormwater Mandate

An assemblyman in Yorktown, New York, is battling a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) mandate that requires local governments to pay for the cost of updating a local stormwater system. He claims the $500 million mandate would overburden local taxpayers.

The MS4 mandate is part of a federal law that requires permits for stormwater discharges. The assemblyman recently introduced legislation to the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation to consider the community’s capability of paying for the mandate.

Legislation similar to the Yorktown assemblyman’s proposition has already been adopted in other states where communities struggled to afford MS4 mandates.

Additional Charges for New Stormwater Permits

The town of Burlington, Massachusetts, may have to pay between $150,000 and $200,000 per year in order to comply with new EPA stormwater regulations.

The new control measures will be based on the EPA-NPDES Phase II Revised Small MS4 General Permit, which outlines responsibility in controlling and monitoring stormwater runoff. For Burlington, this includes additional costs for increased street sweeping, illicit discharge detection and new elimination requirements.

County Held Responsible for Stormwater Pollution

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles, California, recently found the county’s Flood

Control District accountable for polluted stormwater runoff that had been allowed to enter city waterways.

The runoff was carried from county rivers into the ocean, where pollutants like pesticides, toxic metals and animal waste could end up on the beach. With this decision, the federal court agreed that the county’s Flood Control District has been discharging polluted water into the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers since 2003.

West Virginia Facing New Regulations

New regulations for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay are affecting operators of wastewater treatment plants in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. The EPA is now requiring cities to obtain stormwater runoff permits, resulting in stronger stormwater ordinances.

The city of Martinsburg recently passed a broad stormwater ordinance designed to better control sites that generate runoff.

The West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection and the Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Training Partnership are looking at alternative ways to meet permitting requirements, including reducing stormwater runoff and requiring people to pick up pet waste.

Florida Cities Receive Grants

Three Florida cities will divvy up $350,000 in stormwater grant funds for various treatment projects aimed at preventing stormwater from entering area lakes.

The grant money was awarded by the Lake County Water Authority and will be used to construct French drains in Groveland, install a nutrient-separating sediment box to remove pollutants in a 115-acre residential area in Mount Dora, and to divert stormwater from a 19-acre basin in Montverde to keep sediment and polluted water from reaching Lake Florence.

River Conservation Groups Join Fight for State Permit

Three Alabama River conservation groups have filed to intervene in a stormwater permit appeal filed by the Business Alliance for Responsible Development (BARD). The conservation groups plan to join forces with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to help preserve the agency’s stormwater program for small cities.

The groups believe the appeal, filed by BARD, is an attempt to keep both local and state stormwater controls weak and ineffective, while also delaying the approval of the permit. Stormwater runoff has been recognized as a serious problem in Alabama and the cause of most water pollution in the state.

Association Loses Appeal

An El Paso, Texas, apartment association lost its lawsuit against the city of El Paso and the Public Service Board (PSB), which challenged how stormwater fees for apartments are assessed.

In 2008, the association sued the city’s stormwater utility, arguing that the city unfairly treated apartment properties through a rate structure that charged stormwater fees based on the square footage of impervious pavements instead of the method used to calculate fees for single-family homes.

The ruling said, “Impervious surfaces, such as buildings, driveways

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In many ways, we are fortunate that, in our chosen profession, we are able to help people when certain disasters occur: the tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Georgia, the flooding in Louisiana, the snows in the northeastern part of the country, the rain in California, and the snow in Colorado....

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